Monday, May 24, 2004


My back has sent me into what I hope is a health crisis, because crises are short by nature, and I can’t take too much of this -- partly because back problems bring interaction with doctors, which brings doctor problems. These started immediately.

The receptionist asked me whether I was calling for a “physical or a follow-up.”

I told her I didn’t understand the question. So of course she repeated it.

“It’s not a physical or a follow-up,” I said. “This is a new emergency, a new problem.”

She explained that “anything that’s not a physical is a follow-up.”

To her credit, she sounded slightly embarrassed saying it, but to me the explanation was the sound of doom -- the same prolonged, harrying buzz that accompanied the 30-second diagnosis giving me arthritis when I really had flat feet, or that sent me off to a pain-management center that tried to delay treating my pain as long as possible.

I’m not looking forward to this.

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